New Delhi: Writing helps him in his job as a police officer, feels Kuladhar Saikia, winner of this year s Sahitya Akademi award for his collection of short stories - a rare honour for a cop. "Writing makes you a very sensitive person which has helped me in my law enforcement professional service which very often needs a person with sensitive heart and mind," Saikia, additional director general of Assam Police, told IANS in a telephonic interview from Guwahati.
His experiences and the people he meets everyday "would lead me to peep into their inner world which is so complex with the waves of human emotions". Saikia was given the Sahitya Akademi award for his collection of Assamese short stories, "Akashar Chhabi Aru Anyanya Galpa" (Portrait of the Sky and Other Stories). The collection has 13 short stories which depict the experiences, ethos and pathos of the protagonists and their inner universe. "Most of the stories there would talk about nostalgia, human relations and the complex dynamics of the present society," the writer said.
Asked about his reaction when he got the news of being named for the award, he said: "The award has given me immense pleasure and happiness because such type of public recognition is a very inspiring feeling for any creative writer." Saikia feels that such awards for short stories "definitely encourages the fiction writers of the new generation in Indian languages who are experimenting with new forms and styles of story-telling". He is also appreciative about the works churned out by the new generation of Assamese writers, which he says have also boosted the publishing industry in the northeastern state.
"A lot of fictional works, particularly in the domain of short stories, have been written as a result of experimentation with new styles and forms. Particularly the new generation of writers have come up with such innovative creations," Saikia said. "The addition of more and more new books pointed to the fact that the publishing industry in Assam has been able to do well," he added. In this digital world and age of e-books, where does the printed book stand? "The debate of perceived war between printed and e-books does not disturb me much," Saikia said.
"Both of these formats are to be seen as complementary rather than in a collusive mode," he said. According to him, printed books have a prominence in social reading habits like sharing among friends and relatives and also as gift items to loved ones. "However, one may like to read an e-book because of its easy accessibility like during travel time," he said. Saikia, who attended this month s Goa literature festival, feels that such festivals help in the interaction of views.
Author of 18 short story collections, a novel and a book of essays, he is also a well-known dramatist and has done two telefilms. Saikia is also famous for his initiative called "Prahari" (Sentinel), a relentless campaign against the social evil of witch-hunting. The campaign was so effective that Assam s director general of police declared it as a state-level police project. Today, top management schools are taking up the Prahari project as a model of change in management with law enforcement agencies as catalysts.